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Inside Washington

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Boehner 7, Benghazi 6, Vietnam 5, Chuck Hagel 4, Australia 4, Us 3, Washington 3, John Boehner 3, Iraq 2, Pentagon 2, Massachusetts 2, Afghanistan 2, Virginia Tech 2, Alabama 2, Nebraska 1, Jared Loughner 1, Gallup 1, U.s. 1, The City 1, Mississippi 1,
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  WETA    Inside Washington    News/Business. Round-table  
   discussions feature journalists. (CC)  

    December 22, 2012
    6:00 - 6:30pm EST  

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>> what do you think of when you see a tree?
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a treatment for cancer? alternative fuel for our cars? do you think of hope for the environment, or food, clothing, shelter? we do. weyerhaeuser. growing ideas. >> the house will stand in the chair. >> this week on "inside washington," john boehner's plan b collapses and the house goes home for christmas. >> it is hard to get your mind around said that someone so young could leave us, and such a peaceful community, such an horrific event. >> another massacre and another called for gun-control. >> the fact of this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. >> hands brawl after the state department report on benghazi, but are they the right hands? >> the compound was inadequate
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for the threat environment in benghazi, and in fact, grossly inadequate to deal with the attacks that took place that night. >> will former republican senator chuck hagel make it to the pentagon? >> the house did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. house speaker john boehner's statement on thursday evening as he stood in front of the house republican conference on thursday night, he recited the serenity prayer. god, grant me the serenity to accept the things that i cannot change, and close the house for business until after christmas. there is no place like an empty house for the holidays. his plan b died. >> let me be clear, speaker
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boehner's plans are nonstarters in the senate. >> boehner appeared on friday morning and said, if this thing were easy, it would have been done decades ago. >> i am interested in solving the major problems that face our country. that means house leaders, senate leaders, and the president, are going to continue to have to work together to address those concerns. >> the president has lifted his number to 400,000, no tax hikes for anyone making more than a million. boehner wants tax hikes for those making more than 1 million. done decades ago. what happened? >> he did not have the votes, as simple as that. he had to pull back. his own caucus let him down. he thought he could get the 218 votes he needed from his caucus and they were not there. >> are we going over the cliff? >> there is a chance we could avert that. boehner's statement on friday
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morning suggests that he was still willing to work with the president to come up with something. the outcome is likely to be that the fringes on both parties will have to be forgotten and they will have to pull in enough republicans of a moderate nature and the majority of democrats to make this work, but you are not going to get the house caucus to back anything as a group. >> what are republicans doing to their brand? to watch that scene last night on the news was to see very conservative republicans almost literally rolling their eyes at what had happened. there is still a chance. this is a lame duck congress, and it will be easier in the next one, even if it is only one week into the next one. still, colby is right. obviously, they cannot do it with a unified republican caucus.
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>> charles, play it out for us. >> boehner had a plan c, the mayan apocalypse. if you are watching on the weekend, obviously, that one did not work out either. i think they will go over the cliff. the main objective that obama had was not a fiscal 1 but political, to follow the victory in november by creating civil war among republicans over the tax issue, which is exactly what happened. he said the 1 requirement i have for any deal is hiking tax rates. the reason that boehner was not able to do plan b was because it involved breaching the principle, which she did openly and said he was ready to do it. then conservatives said they would not do it. that is now a fracture in the party that will be extremely hard to reconcile. if you can not, how did you get a deal done before january 1?
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i am not sure they can be done that is essentially the problem the president faced with boehner two years ago, last year. can he deliver? how can you negotiate with someone who cannot deliver his side? >> you go to people for support, at least three of whom have lost their committee assignments. how can you expect them to come into your way of thinking? >> and they were growing when john boehner went down, taking some delight, but that was cleared, that was pre-cleared by the leadership. the leadership was with them. this is not a question of -- quite bluntly, leaving and losing their virginity on the issue of tax cuts. it is an important thing for these republicans who have not voted. understand, no republican in the house or senate, in 22 years, has not voted to increase taxes.
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harry reid said that it would not be taken up, the president said he would veto it. >> did everyone see the movie "lincoln?" the wheeling and dealing that had to be done? >> also a lame duck session. >> in those days, you could punish people. i'm going to take away the bridge, you are not going to get that school, library. >> the roles of the road have changed. >> nobody wants to bring home the bacon any more. >> there is a decrease in corruption and it has been truly harmful to the nation's business. >> let us remember that during the crash of 2007, 2008, in the end, it was the democrats under nancy pelosi who bailed out president bush. it was the republican secretary
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of treasury who got down on his knees because he needed her to bring home the votes. she was able to do that. >> you are right. abolish bribery in the house and it grinds to a halt. see? >> 26 people dead in a connecticut elementary school. what to do about guns, next. >> since friday morning, a police officer was gunned down in memphis, leaving four children about their mother. two officers were killed outside of a grocery store in topeka. a woman was shot and killed inside of a las vegas casino. three people were shot inside and alabama hospital. a 4-year-old was caught in a drive by in missouri and taken off life-support just yesterday. each one of these americans was a victim of the everyday gun
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violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 americans every year. violence that we cannot accept as routine. so i will use all the powers of this office to help advance efforts aimed at preventing more tragedies like this. >> that was the president wednesday morning. no doubt others have been killed since then with firearms. you all know the story. 20-year-old loner armed with semiautomatic pistols, also rivals, walks into a connecticut elementary school and killed 26 people, 20 of them small children, and then himself. prior that, he fired four bullets into his mother's head. the president has appointed vice-president biden to come up with a commission but he says it is not a commission that looks at the results and promises something and then pushes aside. what are the odds of that realistically? >> realistically, we can see a ban on assault weapons. whether that will address the
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problem, i do not think so. the problem goes beyond the assault weapons, as charles pointed out. there are so many weapons out there right now. there are thousands already out there in the community. it only takes one person to do something. >> and sales have gone up since. >> that is all true, but we could do something about the size of these clips. having said that, we need to do something about the mental health system in our country. it is completely fallen apart. after the shootings at virginia tech, in the state of virginia, they appropriated $43 million more for mental health services. the next year, they cut it by $50 million. you cannot have a system that does not treat people. you cannot have a system that
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does not do something about committing people for more easily for periods of time to be able to treat them. it does not work. on top of that, you have these incredibly ferocious weapons that were made four more times than anybody seems to be able to get a hold of simply. >> all of that is true. i do think the change in the commitment laws over the last 30, 40 years has made it very difficult to compel someone to get treatment or be detained in a mental institution. these killers, it is not as if there is a lack of funds for treatment. it is the lack of the ability of a parent's, with an ill and dangerous child, to get the help. the legal loopholes that you have to go through are such that it is almost impossible. you end up with the tucson shooter. everyone who spoke about him had a sense that he was psychotic. on guns, the problem is this. unless you are willing to
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completely disarm the population come as you do in canada or britain or australia in the 1990's, and it works and you have a decrease in gun crime, and if you allow to grandfather existing weapons come as what happened in the 1994 assault weapons law, at which time there were 25 million high-capacity magazines already in circulation, you do not accomplish anything. the studies of the 10-year experiment of the ban on assault weapons shows it had no effect. >> in april 1968 i was in ebenezer baptist church in atlanta for the funeral of martin luther king. in june of 1968, i was working for robert kennedy in california when he was murdered. since those two events, more americans have died by fire arms than in all wars this
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country has fought, in combat or out of combat. guns are crazy. unless we confront that reality -- it is not just a question of training. i do not disagree about mental health. it is absolutely lunacy to have half the guns in the world in the united states of america. that is something that has to be different. one other point about newtown. dylan shockley was 6 years old. he was a special-education student. his parents issued a statement. we take great solace that dylan died in the loving arms of his favorite teacher, a special- education teacher, anne marie murphy. 52, mother of four. the teachers of that school, the principal, psychologist, the teacher that by protecting
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their children, saving their children, comforting their children, those that survived, they are true heroes. they have not received the recognition that they deserve. i would point out, everyone of them is a public schoolteacher. a group that has been condemned, vilified, and denigrated by all sorts of people. >> i do wonder about this nexus we are making between mental illness and violence. we have had a number of gun -- violence where people were killed with fire arms, in prince george's county, too. are you suggesting that everyone who pulls a trigger is mentally ill? is that the suggestion? >> no. >> in mass killings, you look at jared loughner, and virginia tech, loughner was diagnosed as
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a paranoid schizophrenic, which you could see on day one. i am not sure about adam lanza. >> i am not nitpicking. i do not hear the argument for mental illness -- >> of those in jail, a third of them have a mental illness of some kind. that is not the point. we are talking about mass killings, those that have a psychotic break. >> one quick thing here the five states the lowest death rates from guns. hawaii, rhode island, massachusetts, connecticut, new york. those are the five highest, louisiana, mississippi, alaska, nevada, and alabama. the former has the toughest gun laws and the lowest gun ownership. the other five have the highest
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gun ownership in the country and the most relaxed laws. >> we have the toughest gun laws in the city. it did not do much to cut down on the violence. it took a lot of policing to do it. go on the internet and find out when you come up with gun- control. george washington. fire arms ban next to the constitution itself. they are the americans liberty. try to stem gun sales in this country you will run into a serious roadblock. >> australia had a mass killing in the mid-90's's. it passed a severe loss where all existing guns had to return then. the government brought them back. after a certain date if there were in your home, you were arrested. they have had a decrease in crime, especially in suicide, an interesting development. it seems to me you either have
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to go that route, which you cannot in the u.s. -- gun ownership and australia was 5% of households. hear, gallup has shown is 47%. we have a second amendment and the whole history going back to washington. given that we are a different culture, the kinds along that we pass are almost always an effective as a result because there are 300 million weapons out there today. unless you recall them the way australia did and when we can not you will have a reservoir that will last for 100 years. >> you try that in this country, you can imagine. >> you will have an insurrection. >> the dilemma of gun-control. you do not need to permit guns -- and i understand there are already plenty of them. he did not simply not do something because it is already a problem. right now, we allowed guns that
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are made specifically to injured in the most grievous way, and the fastest way. they are military weapons. we do have to keep permitting those on our streets. they do not kill deer because the deer would be so torn up you would not eat them. this makes no sense at all. but it does not make any sense either to allow people on the street who need severe treatment and needed right away. there are nine beds for these folks. charles, you are wrong about that. -- not beds for these folks. at fairfax high battle, they eliminated the psych ward. >> i still think -- going back
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to the point that nobody likes. this nexus between mental illness and guns is something i am not ready to make because unless we go all the way and suggest that some of these in the village we have incarcerated in our jails and penitentiaries who killed one or two or three people, there are mentally ill as well. they do not count. it is only that kid -- >> we have irrational killers. al capone, the valentine killer. they were coming in other territories, so they were shot. that is not mental illness. but if you think like a jared loughner where you are living in a world of numerology. he was talking about the influence of grammar that the government was using over him. you are talking about people living in a different world and they are not responsible. i believe in the s&p defense and on the grounds of acquittal by and sanity. daniel patrick moynihan, great
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american center and public servant had a simple suggestion. tax the magazines, tax the bullets, attacks the ammunitions. i do not care how many guns they have. if they cannot fire them, they will not kill people. >> state department takes a big hit on benghazi. >> the state department had not given benghazi the security, both physical and personal resources it needed. >> former ambassador thomas pickering, the chairman of the accountability review board that investigated the attack, the board report has resulted in three resignations so far, but i guarantee that is not the end of this debate. >> it is not, but i feel like -- when somebody is going down the street and they cut someone off. the other guy is furious and the errant drivers says you are right here that is what happened this week. the state department said you were right. it sort of took the wind out of the sales of the republican conspiracy theorists', i think, somewhat.
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a hearing was only an hour-and- a-half long? the last one was four hours and everyone was screaming. this one was pretty reasonable. >> still some wind in your sales, charles? >> the secretary said the buck stops with hurt. the president said that the buck stops with him in the gaza. we have a report about the unbelievable systemic mistakes, not giving security that was requested, ignoring, backing of the people in benghazi, libya for extra help. and we end up with the first slain ambassador in 30 years. where does the buck stop? with three people nobody has ever heard of -- one has been named, the others have not. the secretary of state is not even at the hearings because she has an illness and her underlings are their. ere.re th
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>> are you suggesting she is faking an illness? >> i am not saying she is taking anything. she is absent from a hearing where she should have been the one to take responsibility, or to explain what the phrase means, the buck stops here, if it doesn't stop with her but underlings. >> i do think the secretary of state has to testify on this, not as part of the department's budget or part of the department's policy, simply for the resolution of the questions, even after the report, which was devastating. at the same time, if she is to have any political ambitions beyond presidential prospects -- just in her own self- interest, beyond the national interest, she has to fully explain and put this behind her so that it does not nag as a continuing question in her career. >> i can say this without fear of contradiction. if you look at every security
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report submitted to the state department from embassies and consulates around the world, you will find most recommendations from security professionals are not being implemented. >> you say that as a former security officer. >> security professional do not call the shots. because you have non-security people making these budgetary decisions and diplomatic decisions -- for example, we do not want to look like a garrison. we want an open embassy. those are the things that you're up against even now. as they said in the report, the security professionals on the run were not a bug do with it wanted to do. they were not able to tell the ambassador, do not go to benghazi. i had the same problem with an ambassador. >> when? >> 1960's. the problem is still there. they can still call the shots. i had an investment come in and say, i like things just the way
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they are in my office. i like all of my classified material left on my desk and not walk away. you know what we had to do? we had to send an extra people to stand 24 hour guard because the ambassador was always right. >> john kerry at state. will it be chuck hagel at the pentagon? which opens up all kinds of possibilities politically echo minister of massachusetts. i want to talk about chuck hagel. this is a man that came back from the number two purple hearts. talk about him going to the pentagon but there are some republicans who are not happy with his former republican senator from nebraska. why? >> chuck hagel was not to go to vietnam. he had orders to go to germany. he was at fort dix, new jersey and said i wanted to go to vietnam. in may and talk to the chaplain and psychologist and after two weeks, went to vietnam. he has fought for his country, unlike his critics.
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he has but pours countries, unlike his critics. he understands war, unlike his critics. he does not have other priorities, as richard cheney did at the same time in vietnam. he never said it was going to be a cakewalk. he is prepared, ready, and bill, and put it best. he has fought for his country and but for his country. he knows the subject matter. ask jim jones and other national security advisers. >> two words, iraq and have -- iran. that is what upsets people about chuck a calamity had to say about those two. >> he supported the war in iraq, voted in favor and supported the war in afghanistan and is an odd dove that supported the two wars and all the critics are now decrying. he also, when it came time to redeem what was a losing war in iraq with the troop surge, he not only opposed it, he said it would be the worst disaster since the vietnam war, and it was actually a success. >> he has other problems, too,
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that he will have to address. references that he made to gays, reference about the jewish lobby when he said. when he meant the israeli lobby. those questions will have to be addressed. he has some hills to climb. >> he has some krill's to climb but he will climb them just fine. basically, he ended up where most of the american people were about iraq and afghanistan. >> nina, you get the last word. merry christmas. see you next week.
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